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No cover-up in Mayo drug mess, says Azurin

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. on Monday said there is no plan to cover up the illegal drug case involving now-dismissed Police Master Sergeant Rodolfo Mayo Jr.

At a press conference at Camp Crame, Azurin said there was no attempt to delay the investigation into Mayo’s supposed involvement in the illegal drug operations.

“Why start a fact-finding group in the first place if there was no intent to dig deeper in the drug mess, which obviously continued to persist through the years,” Azurin said.

“The SITG’s finding will prove wrong the critics claim that there was an attempt to derail the investigation,” he added, referring to the Special Investigation Task Group.

Asked why he just spoke now after a week that the issue was disclosed by Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos, Azurin said, "Ang reason diyan is pag ako kasi ang humarap kaagad, I have to give 'yung mga ibang naakusahan their time to also explain their side. Kaya nga inuna natin si Colonel Domingo because he also has something to say."

(The reason why I spoke only now is because I want to give the other officials, like Police Colonel Domingo, their time to explain their side.)

Police Brigadier General Narciso Domingo was the former director of the police's Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) who was removed from his post amid the ongoing investigation into the P6.7-billion drug haul.

PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) director Police Major General Eliseo Cruz earlier said Domingo could face stiffer charges due to the issue.


Meanwhile, Azurin expressed belief that the disclosure of names of high-ranking police generals who were allegedly involved in the drug mess was very unfair.

The overall head of the police organization stressed that these police generals should also be given due process.

"It's very unfair because we are accusing generals, ano ho ang ebidensya natin? Benjie Santos was there because I directed him to go there to supervise, magbigay ng instruction sa imbentaryo. It's very unfair to him talaga," he said.

"We really need to observe due process because these generals that are being accused" Azurin added.

Earlier reports said at least nine police officials would go on leave to let the investigation take its course.

Meanwhile, Azurin bared that he already spoke to President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. about the issue. He mentioned that he insisted to the Chief Executive that he is not protecting Mayo.

"I don't want to be disrespectful to our President. Before I face you, sinabi ko na 'yung ano... sinagot ko na 'yung mga issues na [I already answered accusations that] I'm covering up for Mayo," he said.

Azurin, who is set to retire on April 24, said Marcos should also be cautious in choosing the next PNP chief.

Real enemy

Azurin called on Abalos to “focus on the real enemy,” as the latter earlier expressed belief that more high-ranking police officers were involved in the illegal drug case.

“Let us focus on the real enemy. Let me call also the attention of our kind SILG to take a second look on the people who may be feeding him misinformation to cast doubt on the integrity of the PNP organization,” the PNP chief said.

GMA News Online has reached to Abalos for his comment, but he has yet to respond as of posting time.

The PNP chief further urged Abalos to trust the police organization amid the investigation.

Meanwhile, Azurin was also asked about his personal relations with Abalos which he described as "very professional," as the latter also has the drive to eradicate illegal drugs.

"We don't let whatever differences we have to affect our work," Azurin said.

Mayo, a member of the PNP’s Drug Enforcement Group, was arrested in October 2022 after authorities confiscated 990 kilos of shabu worth P6.7 billion during a series of anti-drug operations in Manila. —KBK, GMA Integrated News